Año Nuevo State Park is located off the coast of central California, near Monterey Bay above Santa Cruz and below Half Moon Bay. This park is popular with tourists, and modifications have been made for visitors with wheelchairs. The video above shows what wheelchair access is like when hiking at Año Nuevo State Park. 

Travel Notes

A park entrance fee is required. While wheelchair accessible, the popularity of Año Nuevo State Park, plus limited handicapped parking may be challenging for visitors. Once parked inside, getting around is barrier-free, including the museum, picnic area, and bathrooms.  

Trail Notes

  • Length: The one-way Año Nuevo Trail is 1.3 miles long.
  • Surface: The trail begins with a firmly-packed dirt and crushed rock surface, and then turns into a boardwalk, which is called the “Equal Access Boardwalk Trail.”
  • Handrails + Edges: On the boardwalk, the trail has a low border to distinguish the edge. At the beginning of the trail, when it’s crushed rock and dirt, there is a wooden border even with the trail to distinguish the edge, and sometimes a thin rope is connected between poles to direct visitors on the trail. Near the coastline at the overlooks, a wooden fence with two beams keeps visitors safe from the rocky cliffs.
  • Benches + Overlooks: Along the Año Nuevo are a couple of benches along with a few information boards about the environment. 
  • Inclines: The average slope (trail grade) is 3% and the average cross-slope is 2%. At one point, the trail dips down and travels across a scenic bridge and then back up to higher ground. This is the biggest elevation change on the trail. 
  • End of Trail: A larger platform is located at the end of the trail for wheelchairs to turn around. At this point, the trail turns into sand and requires a beach wheelchair.


Año Nuevo State Park is a protected wildlife space for the endangered elephant seal, so pets are never allowed at the park, and sometimes (usually depending on the season) even service animals are not permitted. This is for the safety of all animals. The park’s Equal Access Guided Walk Program allows visitors needing access to get close to the elephant seals during the breeding season.    

Beach Wheelchair

Yes, beach wheelchairs are available. Call (650) 879-2025 for more information.

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